Getting a candidate on the ballot in Indiana is not easy. I know, from first hand experience, that many campaigns struggle to do it. But it now appears that in 2008, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton took a short-cut. They just cheated.
It turns out that someone appears to have forged the signature of former Democratic Governor Joe Kernan on the petition to get Barack Obama on the ballot:
Former Gov. Joe Kernan says a signature on a petition to place Barack Obama‘s name on Indiana’s 2008 primary ballot isn’t his, putting him among dozens of dubious signatures found in a newspaper’s investigation.
While that is the appealing headline that gets lots of attention, the more nefarious story is that it happened on a more systematic basis:
The Tribune first reported Sunday that it and the Howey Politics Indiana newsletter had found pages from Clinton and Obama petitions with names and signatures that appear to have been copied by hand from a petition for 2008 Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jim Schellinger. The petitions were filed with the Indiana Election Division after the St. Joseph County Voter Registration Office verified individuals’ information on the documents.
Copying pages and pages of names demonstrates a certain level of disregard that is a little hard to imagine. Every time I have seen a campaign doing ballot access, there is relatively continuous oversight as campaigns try to figure out whether they need to spend more money for paid collectors, where they need to engage more volunteers, etc. It is hard for me to imagine how a campaign could be so disengaged from the details that something like this would happen. Especially to two campaigns (and the only ones on the ballot, as I recall). This is important stuff. You don’t just let the local guys do it without oversight.
Especially when the local guys are Chicago and northern Indiana, where there appears to be a pattern of systemic fraud. I noted some precinct results from Chicago that got over 100% turnout in previous elections. Both the Alderman and his dad went to prison for misusing their office for personal gain. Chicago is notorious for ongoing problems. And Indiana had one of the most remarkable cases of election fraud in the 2003 East Chicago Democratic mayoral primary in which 32 people plead guilty to varieties of election fraud.